Local women’s groups strongly support the project, recognizing the need for public spaces for women to socialize.
6 SEPTEMBER 2012 | FARYAB, AFGHANISTAN
“Women don’t have many places to socialize,” says Sharifa Azimi, Director of Faryab Women’s Affairs. “The only place for women to socialize is when some women gather in the cemeteries on Wednesdays to pray,” she added.
Sharifa and other local women leaders took action. During a Service Delivery Advisory Group (SDAG) meeting, a citizen forum that decides funding by USAID’s RAMP UP North program, they asked for the renovation of a women’s park.
“I fought strongly for the renovation of this park, even though some participants wanted other projects,” says another woman leader. “The best thing about this park is that it can be a place for women to gather during market days, which are held twice a week.”
Many years ago, women used a park in the center of the city, but it fell into disrepair and safety concerns discouraged women from visiting it. As conditions improve, women want to reclaim their public space.
“These park improvements are sustainable because the municipality funds park maintenance from renting small shops that women can use to sell their handicrafts,” says Azimi.